This is an excellent activity for the first day of a course because it gets the students relaxed and talking, and often laughing as well. After the normal preliminaries of the first day, this could be the first real activity. This works best with a small class of up to 10 maximum.
- The teacher will already have written a few sentences about themselves on an overhead or Powerpoint slide or whiteboard. Let the students see these, and tell them to read them through. Then read each sentence aloud, adding a little more detail in each case. The sentences might look something like this:
I was born in Tanzania. My father was a doctor there. I can speak Kiswahili, French and English. I know a little Chinese. I have four children. I love swimming. I can play the guitar and sing. I have taught English for 20 years.
- Tell the students that some of these statements are true and some are not. Tell them to ask questions to try to find out what is true and what is not true (5-10 minutes). As they ask questions, they may guess which statements are true and which are untrue.
- Let them tell you which statements they think are true (and why) and which are false.
- Confess, and tell them which are true and which are not. Add a little more about yourself.
- Tell the students to write down 4/5 short sentences/statements about themselves. Some statements will be true and some untrue.
- Tell them to work in pairs and question each other about their statements. Their task is to try to find out what is true and what is false (10 minutes).
- When they have finished, ask the pairs to report back. However, each student must report on each other. They should report what they believe to be true.
- When a student has finished describing his/her partner, the other student can then make any factual corrections that are needed. I am not 36, I am really 26.
- When everyone has finished the teacher can bounce questions around the class. Who lived in Zanzibar? Whose mother was a painter?
- Tell the students to write a description of themselves.